Everything you need to know about London-area athletes in Pyeongchang
They’ve made the long flight to Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Some had stops, some just went straight through. Each one got as many tips as they could about dealing with the time change that is 14 hours ahead of the time in London, Ont.
Two have already won gold medals.
Tessa Virtue of London and Scott Moir of Ilderton put on two scintillating performances in their long and short programs to help Canada get to the top of the podium in the Team Figure Skating event.
They are now preparing for their individual Ice Dance competition and they will do so alongside other London connections.
At the 2018 Olympics, there are also two bobsledders and one ski-cross racer set to compete. There are two Team Canada hockey players with ties to the London Knights and a Team Canada goalie from Blyth. London’s own Bob Martin is the security liaison for Hockey Canada and is in Pyeongchang, while Art Johnson is taking care of the ice for the hockey tournament.
Here’s how and when to find them:
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
Virtue and Moir will have a few days to prepare for their main event. They now own nine world titles, including individual Olympic Gold from Vancouver in 2010, where they were the first ice dancers to be crowned Olympic champions their first time on Olympic ice. They won silver in 2014 and after a brief thought about retirement, returned in 2016-17. Canada’s flag-bearers in 2018 have made it clear that this will be their final Olympic Games.
Sunday, Feb. 18 — 8 p.m. ET — Ice Dance — Short Program
Monday, Feb. 19 – 8 p.m. ET — Ice Dance — Free Dance
Duncan first hit the slopes at Boler Mountain in London while he was still in elementary school and he got hooked.
“We would go seven days a week with night skiing at Boler. I had a great group of buddies and that’s all we really wanted to do… we just grew up and went through the ranks and I just kept on going.”
Duncan had great support from his family. They would turn family vacations into ski trips and head out to places like Whistler. He began his career in alpine, but made the move to ski-cross and is hoping that the Pyeongchang Olympics last longer for him than the games in Sochi where Duncan broke his collarbone on his first training run.
Tuesday, Feb. 20 — 9:30 p.m. ET
Ski-cross is a one-day event that will end with the Big Final at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 21.
London, Ont., is 3,231 kilometres from the nearest bobsled track and yet, two Londoners are members of the Canadian Bobsled team — Alex Kopacz and Josh Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was a pole vaulter in high school who earned an NCAA scholarship to Cornell, but was discovered while playing slo-pitch in Calgary.
“The beauty of slo-pitch is that you can look good, even by trying just a little bit. I happened to hit a couple of home runs and was running the bases and it just so happened that the technical director at the time for Bobsled Canada was on the other team and she approached me afterward about coming out for an I.D. camp and the rest is history.”
Kopacz was on the track team at Western University and with the encouragement of Jason Tunks, eventually began to do shot put. During a purple-and-white competition, Kopacz found himself in a spring event and did very well against some top sprinters.
“The coach, Marty Robertson used to do bobsled and he said I would be perfect for the sport and that I should check this out. That was back before the Sochi Olympics and I went out and tried my luck.”
Kopacz was added to the team and will compete in the 2-man and 4-man competitions in Pyeongchang.
Sunday, Feb. 18 – 6 a.m. ET — Alex Kopacz — 2-man Bobsled – Heats 1 and 2
Monday, Feb. 19 – 6:15 a.m. ET – Alex Kopacz – 2-man Bobsled – Heats 3 and 4
Friday, Feb. 23 – 7:30 p.m. ET – Alex Kopacz/Josh Kirkpatrick – 4-man Bobsled – Heats 1 & 2
Saturday, Feb. 24 – 7:30 p.m. ET – Alex Kopacz/Josh Kirkpatrick – 4-man Bobsled – Heats 3 & 4
***Final results will be known after Heat 4 in both events
Chris Kelly, Christian Thomas and Justin Peters
All three are members of Team Canada’s entry into the Olympic hockey tournament. Peters is from Blyth. Kelly and Thomas played for the London Knights. Thomas was a member of the Knights for less than a season before being traded to Oshawa in a deal that brought to London, John Tavares and Michael Del Zotto. Kelly played four years for the Knights. He was named captain in his final season and has been named Team Canada’s captain for Pyeongchang.
Preliminary round schedule:
Thursday, Feb. 15 – 7:10 a.m. — Canada vs. Switzerland
Friday, Feb. 16 – 10:10 p.m. — Canada vs. Czech Republic
Sunday, Feb. 18 – 7:10 a.m. — Canada vs. Republic of Korea
Canada defeated the Olympic Athletes from Russia 5-0 in their opening game.
In their second game, Canada knocked off Finland 4-1.
Wednesday, Feb. 14 – 10:10 p.m. — Canada vs. U.S.A.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.